He is a member of the very exclusive club of great war photographers and journalists. He has just published an exceptional book “And God created war” by Lammerhuber Publishing. An interview with a great gentleman, a great witness to the madness of men in the heart of darkness.
M&B: Why this book?
Noël Quidu: I wanted this book to exist to rise up against religious fundamentalism that is bringing humanity to its knees. In the name of God, new religious wars are being fought. In the name of God, we kill the “unbelievers”. In the name of God, despicable terrorist acts are being justified from Paris to Kabul, from New York to Mosul, from London to Mogadishu, from Berlin to Bamako. In the name of God, innocent people are being slaughtered, children are being blown up on their way to school. God was only love, I had been taught in my earliest childhood. Unless God created war. My photographs remain a bulwark against the totalitarianism advocated by God’s new mad men. Each photo tells a tragic story to denounce, to try to wake up. And I always have a special thought for children.
M&B: What is your favorite picture?
N.Q: I have no preference in violence but some photos touch me more when destiny seizes a man until his loss and there is nothing we can do. Like that young Russian soldier in ‘95. I was walking through the forest with Chechen. We heard engine noises. We got closer. Russian soldiers were there, just behind a hedge. We heard them talking. They were so close that if I rewound my camera, they would have heard me. Suddenly, I saw a Russian soldier coming. He looked purposeful. Two Chechen rebels arrested the Russian soldier and took him away. NOËL QUIDU WITNESS OF OUR HISTORY 18 Mai 1997, Enfant soldat appelé kadogo The other Chechen fighters arrived and then it became hell. This picture is moving because the soldier is very young, he is afraid and worried. Indeed, a few days later, after incessant bombardments by the Russian air force, the rebellion, as a sign of revenge, decided to kill all the captured soldiers. One morning, I was picked up so I could take pictures of these executions. The soldier was among them. I refused. I am not summoned to be the executioner’s assistant, to be an accomplice to an assassination.
M&B: You have won many awards for your courage and talent. Tell us about your 3 prestigious World Press Awards.
N.Q: Belgrade. Fist raised in front of the parliament. It shows the people who caused Milosevic’s fall This is in Bouaké en Côte d’Ivoire. It depicts the execution of a poor guy who just stole a fan. Here’s the fall of Monrovia in Liberia. This kid just got shot. He died a few minutes after I took the picture.
M&B: What was your family’s reaction to discovering the book?
N.Q: Beyond all other considerations, I made this book for my children and especially for my son Lou. He always told me, “Dad, you could still make a book. He died at the age of 21, while rescuing a friend who was drowning in the Atlantic Ocean. It will be 2 years in a few days. So I kept my word. I leave this book to my children and grandchildren. That way, the day I leave, they will know that their father tried to defend freedom and dignity by going to see for himself